A simple ‘thank you’ at work can go a long way.

When you’re feeling underappreciated and undervalued, just having a manager or a colleague acknowledge the great stuff you’re doing and expressing gratitude for it can be the difference between you searching for new jobs or sticking around.

Most bosses know this (we hope), but the act of saying thank you can often get left by the wayside.

Or there’s a lack of understanding about just how vital expressing gratitude can be, or unease about the ‘best’ way to do it.

So, here’s a nudge to all: you really do need to thank your team for all their hard work. To help you do that, we chatted with Nicole Posner, a workplace mediator and communication and conflict specialist to ease any qualms and guide you through a great ‘thank you’ at work.

Recognise the importance of the ‘thank you’

We’ll repeat this, because it’s important: you need to thank people for their work.

We know there might be an assumption that being paid a salary is thanks enough, or a belief that people shouldn’t ‘need’ praise.

But the evidence shows that feeling recognised and appreciated really is vital, not only to happiness, but also producing good quality work.

Go without a ‘thank you’ for long enough, and a worker will mentally shut down.

Jason Brennan, director of leadership and wellness at Wrkit, told Metro.co.uk: ‘When management doesn’t build an adequate culture of recognition within the business, employees can begin to feel disengaged from their jobs, as they feel like their work is not being respected.

‘This can lead to a higher staff turnover as workers leave to find jobs in businesses that thank them for their hard work and make them feel like management and the overall company value them as an employee.’

‘We all like to be thanked for a job well done but the power of appreciation goes a long way in the workplace,’ adds Nicole. ‘It’s not just a great way to motivate your teams but it also increases engagement and retention rates.’

Get to know your team on an individual level

‘If you want to demonstrate how much you value your teams, it’s really important to understand what makes them tick, who they are, what motivates them and a little more about their life outside the workplace,’ Nicole advises. ‘This means investing time in the relationship.

‘Knowing some background will help you to gift a thank you in the best way for each individual, because we all like to receive gratitude differently.

‘Some may love public recognition of a job well done in a weekly team meeting, while others would prefer a private audience with you without all the fanfare.

‘Get it wrong and it can cause some discomfort and embarrassment.’

Don’t assume that a ‘thank you’ has to cost money

You don’t need to only express gratitude through a bonus or a Christmas gift for everyone on the team (although that’s always a nice gesture, too…).

A heartfelt expression of gratitude that’s specific, meaningful, and delivered in the right way, can mean so much more.

Get specific

On that note, make sure they know exactly what they’re being thanked for. A little more detail is better than a quick and cursory ‘thanks’.

For example, thank a team member for their hard work on a project, noting that you really appreciate it because it will save you a lot of stress in your next big meeting, or because it paid off in this way. Get into why you’re recognising this particular act and why it means so much.

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